Hearty vegetarian minestrone stoup

So this feels rather familiar… I’ve been back from Toronto for about a week, and I still don’t think I’m entirely back to normal. My jet lag’s been surprisingly tame this time around, but that weird ’emotional’ jet lag is going strong – that sensation of being back in the real world, with my ‘adult’ (scoff!) responsibilities, but feeling strangely like I’m in between two lives. Very confusing!!

And just like last time I came back, I’m in a state of perpetual hunger but am too lazy/uncreative to cook up anything new, so I’ve been resorting to avocado toast and soup/stew. While last time I was all about the lentil soup, this time all I want is hearty broth and lots of chunky vegetables. Enter: vegetarian minestrone. It’s stuffed with veggies and rice and flavour galore, and is so chunky its more of a stew than a soup (hence the ‘stoup’ in the title), so it manages to satisfy my bottomless hunger! (After a few bowls… ahem) Plus it’s a one-pot wonder and requires virtually no skill – perfect while I find my groove back.

vegetarian minestrone

Fortunately this weekend was full of tons of editing, which forced me to get my act together and actually got me feeling creative again. I guess there’s nothing like a trusty old routine to get you back to feeling like yourself. I’m learning to use my new DSLR (!!!!) and I can’t wait to experiment with it more! I’ve started maniacally jotting down all sorts of wild ideas on any scrap of paper I can get my hands on as I work – earlier today I paused after having edited a very technical paragraph of someone’s PhD on risky investments to scribble ‘MORE BEETROOT!’ on a letter I received from the immigration office 😛 (In the meantime, if you – like me, apparently – are craving beetroot, check out my ingredient index for all things beet-y!)

So yes – a humble little start to 2016 on the blog for me! Which is how I like to start the new year in general. This NYE I had dinner with my oldest friend Catherine at a trusty place on Danforth and was in bed before midnight – seriously my ideal NYE! Then New Year’s day was spent at my brother and sister-in-law’s with my gorgeous niece and nephew, playing in the snow and then making crafts, before doing some shopping with my mom and then having dinner out to celebrate my parents’ 27th wedding anniversary. The perfect day!

I hope your 2016 is getting off to a great start, wherever you are and whatever you’re up to. Looking forward to sharing tons more recipes and improving my photography this year!

xx Sophie

Hearty vegetarian minestrone stoup

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 6-8 bowls

Hearty vegetarian minestrone stoup

This vegetarian minestrone is as thick as a stew and packed with vegetables - perfect, easy comfort food on a chilly day.

Ingredients

1 tbsp/15 ml olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large zucchini, cut into 1-inch-thick quarter moons
2 big handfuls green beans, stems removed and cut into roughly even pieces
2 cups diced tomatoes
6 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tbsp dried basil
1/2 cup dry rice of your choice (I use basmati)
salt & pepper to taste
parmesan rind, optional

Instructions

1. In a large soup pan over medium heat, sauté the onion, celery and carrot in the olive oil until softened, 5-7 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, the zucchini and the herbs and sauté another 3-4 minutes, or until the zucchini has rendered some of its moisture content. (A pinch of salt will help with that!)
3. Add the canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, bay leaf and parmesan rind (if using). Let everything come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
4. Add the green beans and the rice and allow to cook until the rice is tender - roughly 8-10 minutes, depending on the rice you use.*
5. Before serving, remove the parmesan rind and the bay leaf, and season to taste.**

Notes

*If you have a thing about texture and you plan to eat from the same batch for a few days, you could always cook the rice separately and then add it to your soup when you're ready to eat it. I personally don't bother to do this because I kind of like the increasing softness of the rice as the days go by (I know - I'm a barbarian).

**I usually season every layer of a soup as I add it in - a little trick I learned from Rachel Ray! - but it seems mighty repetitive to mention that every step of the way :P

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